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ALEXANDER  VO3S"   HU^IBOKDT.                  207
The real ascent of the mountain begins at Orotava.
Early in the morning of the 21st June, Humboldt
and his companions were on the road which leads to
the summit of the mountain. It was not an agreeable
day, and, from sunrise iintil ten o'clock in the morning,
clouds covered the point of the mountain., which, with
a clear sky, would have been visible from Orotava.
(Humboldt says:The journey to the peak of Teneriflfe
is the same as the journeys to the vale of Chamouni
in Switzerland., and to the summit of Mount Etna in
Sicily, where the traveller is obliged to follow his
guides, and sees only what other travellers have before
seen and described). A narrow stony path led from
the town of Orotava through a fine chesnut grove
into a district covered with bushes, and with several
varieties of laurel and tree heath; the stems of these
heath-plants have a considerable thickness, and flower
nearly the whole year.
Arrived at the station Pino del I>ornajito, Hum-
boldt had a splendid view of the sea and the
northern portion of Teneriffe. A very voluminous
gushing spring foxmcl here showed a temperature of
fifteen degrees warmth, which was very surprising to
Humboldt, because the temperature of springs is
generally the same as the mean temperature of the
locality, and the barometric altitude measurement
coincided accurately with the thermometric measure-
ments, whence it must be presumed that the tempe-
rature of this spring is lower than the mean atmo-
spheric temperature, especially as the spring had its
source on a higher point of the peak. From this
point Humboldt ascended constantly without passing
a single valley, and crossing only the little clefts^ like
folds in a mantle, surrounding the volcano. The
points which, from the island, seem separate volcanic
mountains, such as Chahorra, La Urea, &., Humboldt
found to be little hills leaning against the p&ak, and